Group buying sites can now choose to be held accountable on a global scale, with the release of the first global code of conduct, seven months after the release of an Australian code of conduct.
The Global Daily Deal Association, based in London, has created the first global code of conduct in a bid to standardise practices across the industry, and enhance accountability and sustainability.
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According to the GDDA, the voluntary code will help improve the reputation of the daily deal industry among both consumers and merchants.
It is the first task for the GDDA – founded by daily deal expert Stavros Prodromou – following huge demand at DD Summit Europe, an industry event held in March this year.
The code addresses issues of privacy, misleading or deceptive conduct, complaints, refunds and credits – all issues that have shaped negative perceptions of the industry in the past.
Prodromou said in a blog the sector has been marred by a lack of merchant and consumer confidence, so the code is the first step in turning that around.
“By signing up to the code of conduct, businesses are making a commitment to the future of this industry,” Prodromou said.
“[The code is] crucial to the sustainability and credibility of the daily deal industry.”
According to the GDDA, the code promotes fair, honest and ethical best practice by ensuring:
- Consumers have access to detailed product and service information in order to make informed decisions.
- Communication from providers to merchants and/or consumers is clear and accurate.
- Appropriate policies and procedures are in place, and clearly displayed on the website.
- The provider has an effective procedure for handling complaints, and an easy-to-understand refund policy.
The list of participating businesses so far includes DiscountVouchers.co.uk, Time Out Offers, MumsandMe, DealCollector, Dailydeal.de, Sweetdeal and Brownty.
The GDDA is still in talks with industry heavyweights such as Groupon and Living Social about signing up to the code.
Australian sites may be less inclined to sign up because a national code of conduct is already in existence – the Australian Group Buying Code of Conduct was released late last year.
Signatories of the code – which was released by the Australian Direct Marketing Association – include Groupon Australia, Scoopon, Cudo, Spreets, Living Social, Ouffer and Deals.com.au.
Adam Schwab, co-founder of Deals.com.au, suspects the global code is “probably a watered-down version” of the Australian code, which, according to him, is world-leading.
“I doubt it would be as strong as the Australian code. Would we join? Probably not,” he says.
“We’ll certainly look at it, but at the moment we’re stringently following the Australian code, which is world-leading.”
Like the global code, the Australian code has been developed on a voluntary basis, with many of the same goals, namely fair, honest and ethical best practice, and boosting consumer confidence.
It also includes an independent, transparent and open complaint-handling process.
This is designed to encourage the group buying industry to resolve established consumer complaints. The complaint handling process is managed by the ADMA Code Authority.